Charlie McConalogue has said households in Donegal and across the country should be given the option of getting approved water meters installed themselves, instead of paying the exorbitant fee of €800 over 20 years.
The Donegal North East Deputy has also called on Minister Hogan to clarify if homes in Co Donegal that already have water meters fitted will also be subject to the €40 annual charge.
Fianna Fail Deputy McConalogue commented, “Fine Gael and Labour are applauding themselves for not introducing an upfront charge of around €300 for water meter installation. Instead, households in Donegal and across the country will have to pay €40 a year over 20 years for their meters – that’s before they pay a cent for the water they use. How can the Government suggest that meter bill of nearly €800 is an improvement on the original figure of €300?
“The suppliers themselves cannot understand how meters and installation will cost this much. I have spoken to local suppliers who have confirmed that all of the hardware required for installation costs less than €100.
“One major national supplier has said the meter itself and the work to install it could be done privately for less than €300. Allowing local suppliers to carry out installation will also keep the jobs in this area,” he said.
He said he was asking Minister Hogan to clarify urgently if households will be given the choice to have standard, approved meters fitted themselves instead of paying a fee of €40 a year amounting to an overall bill of €800.
“Hundreds of newer homes or newly refurbished houses in Co Donegal already have meters fitted as standard – will they be exempt from the €40 annual fee?
“Minister Hogan has given no indication whatsoever of how these charges will be implemented in a fair way, taking into consideration people’s ability to pay. Families in Co Donegal who are already to the pin of their collar are now extremely worried about how they will cope with water bills on top of everything else. The notion of asking them to pay an exorbitant €800 for water meters so that they can be charged for their water use is ridiculous.
“Minister Hogan’s failure to communicate with the public and listen to their very valid concerns has failed him in the past. He must be fair, honest and upfront with households on this occasion,” said Deputy McConalogue.